Based on current copyright legislation, you always need permissions or the appropriate licenses if you would like to cover a copyrighted song in public , as is the case when publishing a track on SoundCloud. Permissions or licenses may be needed for both the composition rights and the sound recording rights, depending on whether you're using a part of an original sound recording or have provided the vocals and played all the instruments.
While some producers and publishers are fine with third parties using their material, some others are not and do not want their works used or altered without explicit consent.
If you are able to provide proof that you do have permission from the relevant rights holders or that you obtained all necessary licenses to publish your cover version on SoundCloud, our Copyright Team is happy to manually review these permissions and reinstate the track onto your profile. Please sign into your account and fill out the disputes form here.
I uploaded my cover under Creative Commons, why was it still taken down?
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that has drafted a set of copyright licenses that may be used by any creator for any of their content. With Creative Commons licenses, creators have the choice to give up certain exclusive rights normally associated with copyright, while retaining others.
Although you, as the creator of the cover have chosen to give up certain of these exclusive rights associated with copyright, the original creator of the track you used still owns the copyright for the original track, and you will need their explicit permission to publish your cover version on SoundCloud.
I uploaded my cover for non-commercial purposes, doesn't this qualify as fair use?
Fair use is a legal doctrine that primarily exists in the copyright law of the United States. Fair use limits the exclusive rights granted by copyright and allows the use of copyrighted material for certain limited purposes only, without requiring permission from the rights holder and depending on the exact use of the original work to be determined on a case by case basis. Purposes recognized under fair use may be such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching and similar activities.
However, uploading a cover version of a track for non-commercial and promotional purposes to SoundCloud does not fall within the fair use exemption.